We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Make Clean Cuts with the Best Planer

  1. Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Planer
  2. Bosch 1 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Planer
  3. Makita 10.9 Amp 6-3/4-Inch Planer
  4. DEWALT 13" Two Speed Thickness Planer
  5. Delta Power Tools 13" Portable Thickness Planer
  6. Makita with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp Planer
  7. Buyer's Guide

Power planers were developed to take the place of the manual plane, which was difficult to work with, requiring skill to make a clean cut. The power planer is also faster, as it can take a thicker cut from a board than a manual plane can. Nevertheless, power planers can’t do everything that a manual plan can, especially the various molding operations that were originally done with planes.

Best planer in 2022 come in both handheld and stationary models. The stationary ones are more limited in the types of things that can be done on them, although they can take off more material at one pass and make a much wider cut. Handheld planers, while limited in their thickness of cut, are not limited in the size workpiece that they can work on. They can even be used on hardwood floors.

A stationary planer is used only to clean up wood that has been sawn on a sawmill, resawn on a band saw, or needs to be thinned for a project. It cannot be used for the edges of a board, but only for the surface. Even so, for what it does, there is no other tool which can replace it.

For more information on choosing a planer best suited for your woodworking needs, check out our buyer’s guide.

What are the best planers of 2022?

Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Planer - Best Planer Overall

Makita shows off their manufacturing quality in the design of this tool by using the same cutterhead and same blades present in the KP0800K corded planer. It has dual carbide blades, which are reversible to help extend their service life.  By using the same cutterhead, Makita ensures you’ll get the same quality with the cordless tool as you do with the corded one.

The cutterhead operates at 14,000 RPM and will make cuts up to 5/64” deep. The depth adjustment knob is click set, ranging from 0” to 5/64”. Blade changes are designed to be easy, with minimal blade adjustment. There’s even an electric brake on the motor, to stop the tool quickly when the trigger is released.

Bosch 1 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Planer - Runner Up

Bosch’s cordless planer runs at 14,000 RPM, but the cutting depth is limited to only 1/64 inch. It’s also a single blade design, rather than the Makita’s dual blade design so you’re only getting one cut per revolution, rather than two.

This planer is designed with dual switchable chip ejector ports, allowing you to select which side the chips exit for your convenience. The tool comes with a fence, which while not necessary is very convenient when cutting the edges of boards. It is also part of Bosch's family of tools which come with the L-BOXX system of cases, for your convenience.

Makita 10.9 Amp 6-3/4-Inch Planer - Honorable Mention

Makita has the largest selection of planers available on the market, with handheld units running all the way up to 12-1/4" wide. I selected this planer, because it is a considerably larger planer than most of the others on this list, allowing cuts up to 6-3/4” wide.

The 10.9 amp motor turns the two blade cutterhead at 15,000 RPM, for a maximum cutting depth of 1/16”. This planer is considerably longer than most, at 20-3/4”, allowing it to work more as a jointer as well. There’s a lock-on button as well, for times when you have to do a lot of cutting. The sole of this planer is precision machined for extra flatness.

DEWALT 13" Two Speed Thickness Planer - Consider

DeWalt clearly comes out the winner with this thickness planer. To start with, it’s got a 3 blade cutterhead, the only one of its type in this category. The cutterhead moves at 10,000 RPM, so you’re getting 30,000 cuts per minute. There’s a power feed for the wood being cut, which is two speed, allowing for 96 or 179 cuts per inch, maximizing the quality of the finish.

The table is cast aluminum for extra rigidity and improving cut accuracy of the cut, while infeed and outfeed tables are provided with the tool. This planer even comes with an extra set of knives. There’s also a material removal gauge and a turret depth-stop, which allows you to return to the most common thicknesses easily and quickly. Finally, the planers chip ejection is fan assisted.

Delta Power Tools 13" Portable Thickness Planer - Best Benchtop Planer

Like DeWalt, Delta’s thickness planer has three disposable, dual-edged cutting blades and a quick change knife system makes changing blades out easy. Delta uses a four column design which provides excellent stability for smooth, accurate cutting. The depth gauge runs the full material width for greater accuracy.

The depth adjustment on this planer is extremely good, with a micro-adjustment which allowing the user to select an range of thicknesses. Included infeed and outfeed tables are adjustable to better support the workpiece and DeWalt has even included a patented snipe reduction system integrated into the cutterhead.

Makita with Interna-Lok Automated Head Clamp Planer - Best Benchtop Planer

Makita boasts the fastest and easiest blade changes of any planer with this model. The two blades are double edged for longer life. At 61.9 pounds, it’s lightweight for individuals who need a portable planer to take to the jobsite. The cabinet has also been designed with four posts and cross-braces for greater stability. There’s an detachable tool box for storage of standard accessories and a depth stop for repeat cuts.

Buyer's Guide

When lumber is freshly cut at a sawmill, it’s not smooth; rather, it shows the marks from the saws used to cut it. What we buy in the lumberyard is not lumber that’s just been cut, but lumber that’s sanded-four-sides (SFS) to smooth it. That's why a one inch thick board is only 3/4 of an inch thick. The rest of the thickness has been taken away in the act of smoothing the board.

Actually, the board isn't sanded even though it is said to be sanded; it is planed. In olden times, planing a board took considerable amount of time with the use of a manual plane to get it flat and smooth. Today, manual planes are rarely used and this work is done by a power plane.

In addition to being used to smooth a recently cut board, planers are also used to change the thickness of the board. If 1/2" thick material is needed, it is easier to plane a standard 3/4" thick board down than it is to resaw and then plane. Of course, this is more wasteful as well, but few people need wood that is 1/8" thick.

Power planes generally have a series of blades (typically from one to three), mounted around a drum. The positioning of these blades is critical, both in comparison to one another and to the drum itself. If the blades aren't set at a consistent height, the surface of the board will be wavy. If they aren't installed level, they will cut more off of one side than the other and make the thickness of the board uneven.

A gauge is used for installing the blades to ensure consistency of their location. Even so, it’s necessary that extreme care is taken to ensure proper use of the gauge and blade alignment.

Planes operate at extremely high speed so that the scalloping of the surface of the board is minimized. The larger the drum and the faster it is moving, the less scalloping there will be. There will always be some scalloping with a power planer, although it can be minimized by using the planer slowly rather than forcing it to cut as quickly as possible.

Types of Power Planers

There are three basic types of power planers on the market, with a forth tool that falls into the category of being similar to a planer.

Benchtop Planers

There really is no such thing as a free-standing planer although benchtop planers can be mounted on a stand and used as if they were free-standing. The benchtop planer usually has a 12" wide drum, allowing it to be used for all sized boards. Since standard lumber is not sold over 12 inches wide (actually 11-1/2" wide) a benchtop planer will be able to be used for all wood. Benchtop planers are normally used in cabinet and furniture making.

Corded Planers

Corded and cordless planers are generally 3-1/2" wide, although there are a few models on the market which are 4-1/2" and even 6" wide. These are used mostly by carpenters for adjusting the size of a door, beveling the edges of doors and trimming boards in finish carpentry. They are also used by some hardwood floor installers, although it is much more common to use a floor sander.

Cordless Planers

Like all other handheld power tools, handheld planers are also available in cordless models. Since most uses that a carpenter has for a plane are for trimming boards, a cordless planer is much more convenient than having to connect an extension cord for making one cut. However, in applications where a lot of planing is needed, such as hardwood floors or butcher block counter tops, a cordless planer is not practical.


Jointers are not technically planers and we have not included them in this category. The only reason I mention them is that they are similar in function. However, the main use of jointers is for edges of boards, whereas planers are used for the surface. When joining a number of boards together, such as for making a table top, the edges of the boards are usually run through a jointer, to ensure that they are straight, flat and smooth.

Things to Look for in a Planer

Planer Capacity

When shopping for a planer, the first thing you want to consider is the planer's capacity. This must match the type of work you are going to use it for. Buying a portable planer for use in furniture making is not practical, as you can't plane the full width of a board with it. Trying to use a benchtop planer for adjusting the width of a door won't work either, as you can't fit the door in it.

Motor Power

The amount of power that the motor provides is an important factor, as a more powerful motor will allow you to take thicker cuts with the tool. This is especially important when working with dense hardwoods, such as oak or maple.


Other than that, the most important part of any planer is the blade or blades. The more blades they have, the smoother a cut they will provide. Blade geometry is important as well, as a spiral cut will make for smoother finish.


The shoe and fence of any planer must be made of durable cast metal, and be ground very smooth. Otherwise they will cause problems with catching the wood and making imperfections in the finish. If the plane has a tilting fence, it can be used quite well for making chamfered edges. Without a fence, you would have to make that as a freehand cut, which would probably end up uneven.

Depth Adjustment

All planers have a depth adjustment on them. The ease of use and accuracy of this adjustment is important for ensuring that the work comes out as intended. The depth adjustment must lock in place, to prevent it from migrating during the cut.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top